The New Kid on the Block

I don’t even try and hide the snowdrop obsession anymore.  Today it feels like all the plants and yardwork of the summer months are just a weak effort to cover up my addiction and to bide my time until cooler months return and snowdrop season kicks back in.  As proof I will confess to driving two hours last weekend to meet up with a few equally crazed friends in the greenhouses of John Lonsdale’s Edgewood Gardens, for the sole purpose of seeing the autumn blooming snowdrops in full flower.  Looking back it was an excellent choice.

galanthus bursanus

Introducing Galanthus bursanus, a fall blooming surprise with big flowers, multiple bloom stalks, winter foliage, and typically two marks on the inner petals.

Spring and even winter blooming snowdrops can go a long way in easing the pain of a brutal winter, but fall blooming snowdrops make an excellent opener to a slow to arrive season.  Shorter days and colder nights may sap your enthusiasm, but to see a few optimistic sprouts and pristine flowers, the gardener is reminded that the natural world is already getting started on next year.

galanthus bursanus

Most of the Galanthus bursanus were big plants with large flowers, but the range and variety was outstanding with both big and tiny represented.

The highlight of this trip was to see in person a fall blooming snowdrop species which has only just been officially named and described by science.  But gardeners rarely wait for things to be official and for years Galanthus bursanus has been making the rounds as a maybe species or maybe subspecies.  Finally it’s official.  This rare little gem from a small population outside the city of Bursa, Turkey is no longer an odd fall-blooming G. plicatus or unusual G. reginae-olgae, it’s a whole new species… one which to the joy of snowdrop lovers is easy to grow and stands out amongst all the others.

galanthus bursanus

Of course as with all snowdrops, a few selections have already been made including this unusual bloomer… which I loved but others were lukewarm towards.

Of course hundreds of seedlings are already in the works, and since John Lonsdale has a way with these things many of the seedlings have reached blooming size and are now being grown on to see just how special the most special are .  Hopefully in another year or two as all these seedlings hit the pipeline I can crack the wallet open for a couple offsets and give this one a try in my own garden!

galanthus bursanus

Another beautiful form of Galanthus bursanus in front with a G. reginae olgae (one mark, typically flowers without foliage present) behind.

In the meantime, out of thousands of of little pots, there were plenty of other things to admire and to talk about.  Other autumn snowdrops were either at their peak or just starting to open, and the variety represented in all those seed grown plants is just amazing.

galanthus elwesii monostictus green tip

Fall blooming seedlings of Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus, all selected for showing a good bit of green to their outer petals.

And then there were cyclamen.  Maybe even more cyclamen than snowdrops.  The cyclamen were either just coming off their peak bloom or just starting to put out their winter foliage.  I again resisted bringing home more of the borderline hardy species, but the winter garden needed some new Cyclamen hederifolium and faced with such a wide range to choose from, my wallet left this visit with a noticeably thinner waistline.

hardy cyclamen

A few of the cyclamen mother plants, all coming into growth for the winter.

I spent this morning repotting my new treasures.  They didn’t need it, but I like to check out the roots and get them into the same soil that the rest of my cyclamen are in, if only so that all my pots dry out around the same time and all the plants are in the same boat… and can all sink or sail together.

hardy cyclamen

A less hardy species, Cyclamen maritimum has both exceptional leaves as well as masses of flowers (after several weeks in flower these are the last few lingering blooms)

Snowdrops in bloom, a visit with friends, and delicious new plants.  I can’t complain, and I’m kind of excited for the upcoming winter garden season.  The new cyclamen already have me down there on a daily basis, and I’m quite motivated and cleaning things up, organizing and re-arranging, and just plain old admiring the goodies.

It still doesn’t mean I’m hoping for a long winter though…

16 comments on “The New Kid on the Block

  1. Chloris says:

    It sounds as if you had a lovely trip. G.bursanus is new to me, how exciting. I am glad that you are finally admitting to your galanthophilia. I feel sorry for people who don’t love snowdrops, how on earth do they get through the winter?

    • bittster says:

      It is so gray and gloomy here today, with snow on the way. If it weren’t for the hopes of soon seeing more snowdrops in bloom I might start watching football or take up some other pointless hobby instead. Or maybe clean the garage or car, that’s probably overdue.

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I think you are so lucky to live close enough to this nursery to be able to see plants and blooms in person. It is no wonder that you have developed a galanthus and cyclamen appreciation. I get all twitchy just seeing the photos. Interesting about the G. Bursanus. I had never heard about it. I like the one that has no leaves and just pops up a bloom. I like surprises. Enjoy your new purchases.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Lisa, with cold weather settling in and snow coming down it’s these winter flowers that keep me going! Actually big Thanksgiving meals and thoughts of Christmas cookies also help, but looking at snowdrops is much more calorie conscious!

  3. Harold Cross says:

    Great post Frank. You set the tone for an extended fall garden season with two plants which do not like my cold and snow. Looking forward to the spring snowdrop gala to meet and greet both plants and people.

    • bittster says:

      Looking forward to the Gala as well, I missed everyone last year!
      I should get a photo of an especially nice salmon colored Thanksgiving cactus which is in bloom this week. It hails from Vermont.

  4. Just being able to see fall blooming snowdrops would be enough for me. Wait; I bet I would have to own some so I am glad I live too far to take part in this lovely ritual. I would definitely have added some Cyclamen as I am such a foliage girl. I still haven’t managed to finish garden cleanup now that the snow is gone for the moment. Either I’ve been busy or sick; actually looking forward to it all being buried under snow again one of these days.

    • bittster says:

      One excellent thing about a nice snowfall is there’s not much you can do about it other than settle in and wait it out. That sounds good in November, but come February and March when you start putting together a spring to-do list…
      Sorry to hear you’ve been sick. Hope it’s passed quickly.

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    It’s a happy addiction… and not all that hard to justify. Gardening is good for your health!
    Happy Thanksgiving, Frank!

  6. Sounds like a real treat for any dedicated galanthophile, such as yourself!

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